As Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini prepare to face Bulgaria in Sofia this evening, Juventus.com casts its mind back to the Bianconeri who have had their say for the Azzurri in this fixture.
Over the years, tonight’s opponents have locked horns on 17 occasions, with Italy's record in those ties currently standing at nine victories, six draws and two defeats.
The 1994 World Cup semi-final at New York’s Giants Stadium particularly springs to mind when speaking about Bulgaria and their Italian counterparts. And among the starting line-up that day were three Bianconeri: Dino Baggio, current Azzurri boss Antonio Conte and Roberto Baggio.
‘Il Divin Codino’ himself proved to be the star of the show as his brace saw the eventual runners-up win 2-1 over Dimitar Penev’s men and advance to the final where they would face Brazil in Pasadena.
World Cup semi-final aside, only three other Juventus players have made their mark up against the Bulgarians in the other games contested. Incidentally, all of the strikes have come in the city of Turin.
First, Antonio Cabrini netted in a 1-0 friendly victory at the Stadio Comunale 37 years ago before the last goals scored by Bianconeri in this encounter came back on September 9 2009.
Italy faced Bulgaria at Corso Agnelli (now known as the Stadio Olimpico) in an important 2010 World Cup qualifier, needing all three points to continue their march towards the tournament’s finals in South Africa.
Under the tutelage of coach Marcello Lippi, the reigning world champions registered a comfortable 2-0 triumph thanks to first-half strikes courtesy of Old Lady alumni Fabio Grosso and Vincenzo Iaquinta.
One for trivia buffs, current Primavera coach Grosso, who had signed for the club during the summer of 2009, would then go on to make his Juventus debut during a 2-0 away victory over Lazio just three days later.